This Guy Documented His Trip To 'The Door To Hell' in Turkmenistan

August 15, 2016

We started our trip about six years ago in Ashgabad, the capital of Turkmenistan. It's a crazy, beautiful city with mostly marble, fountains, more marble, statues and a bit more marble.

door to hell gas fire underground
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On the roads you still see plenty of ex-Soviet cars (independence from the Soviet Union was declared in October 1991).

door to hell gas fire underground
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As we were making our way outside of the city, all of the beautiful marble and posh buildings disappeared...

door to hell gas fire underground
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...until there was absolutely nothing anymore, with another 200km to go.

door to hell gas fire underground
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The last 30 minutes required a bit of desert navigation, and then we finally saw what we came for...

door to hell gas fire underground
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The Darvaza gas crater!

door to hell gas fire underground
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In 1971, the Soviets were drilling in what they thought was an oilfield. It turned out to be gas though, and the ground beneath the grilling site collapsed into a giant crater.

door to hell gas fire underground
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In order to avoid the poisonous gasses to reach the nearby towns the engineers thought it would be best to burn off the gas - and so they did.

door to hell gas fire underground
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As of 2016, it is still burning!

door to hell gas fire underground
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In typical Soviet style, there is no fence or security of any kind.

door to hell gas fire underground
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We decided to hang out by the side a bit and enjoy some wine. An odd experience - in the desert it gets quite cold at night, but occassionaly when the wind turns it feels like someone is blowing a hairdryer in your face.

door to hell gas fire underground
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After another bottle of wine, we decided to go bunk in our tent, and felt like we were on another planet!

It was a great experience which I'll not quickly forget.

door to hell gas fire underground
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Credit: Cnoordz

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